Rodney Campbell's Blog

Back in Mount Gambier…

by on Apr.17, 2017, under Life, Photography

We are all back in South Australia once again this year. Visiting our relatives in the beautiful city of Mount Gambier over the Easter holidays.

Mt Gambier

Mt Gambier

DJI Phantom 4 - FC330 + 3.6 mm @ 3.61 mm, 1/120 sec at f/2.8, ISO 104

Note: These photographs (especially the wider shots) look much better when larger. To see larger versions in an inline overlay slideshow gallery viewer click any of the images.

Instead of driving all the way there like we usually do we decided to fly all the way there this time. The upside was the much shorter trip (hours instead of days), however it did somewhat limit the amount of photography gear I could take :).

Blue Curve

Blue Curve

DJI Phantom 4 - FC330 + 3.6 mm @ 3.61 mm, 1/30 sec at f/2.8, ISO 108

I decided to take just my drone backpack for this trip along with my Nikon D750 D-SLR and three lenses. Plus my usual landscaping filters and the tripod in my suitcase. It was good to get out with the drone once again as I hadn’t flown it in months. My sister in law and their family lives on a farm about 40 minutes from Mount Gambier so the opportunities to fly in open space are much more enticing.

We had rain on and off for quite a few days, but inbetween with nice overcast skies there was some opportunity to fly.

The old Blue Lake Pumping Station built in 1884, perches gracefully on a ledge 150 feet above the water level in the crater.

As long as rain continues to fall on the aquifers of the county of Grey, as long as pollution can be kept within limits and provided always that the volcano remains asleep… The residents of Mount Gambier should be able to count on the eight thousand million gallons of rather hard but good quality water in their natural reservoir.

Blue Lake Pumping

Blue Lake Pumping

DJI Phantom 4 - FC330 + 3.6 mm @ 3.61 mm, 1/30 sec at f/2.8, ISO 127

I had originally intended on shooting a full 360˚ spherical panorama out in the middle of the lake – with the rim of the crater all around. Unfortunately for some reason the software I use to control the drone and take the images (Dronepan) mysteriously stopped part way through. So all I was left with was 16 usable frames (four columns of four rows). The resulting panorama still turned out rather nicely however.

The Rim

The Rim

DJI Phantom 4 - FC330 + 3.6 mm @ 3.61 mm, 1/680 sec at f/2.8, ISO 100 x 16 Frames

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The Loner…

by on Apr.15, 2017, under Life, Photography

A single lone fern battles the elements of nature at the bottom of this Dry Canyon. A loner since the day it was born it lives here in solitude in a land that time forgot. It was setup perfectly for this shot – placed dead centre and all alone in this stretch of slot canyon.

Loner

Loner

NIKON D750 + 14.0 mm f/2.8 @ 14 mm, 1/10 to 6 sec at f/13, ISO 100

They call this region of the Central Tablelands of New South Wales, the Gardens of Stone National Park. Somewhat apt in this case I think.

Thanks to Gerry for the quick loan of his camera & tripod to take the frames for this. I had unfortunately only brought my drone in here this afternoon and not my “real” camera.

Well except I did manage to take this pretty epic shot of Suren in the canyon with my iPhone (something I would normally never do – shudder!!!). Maybe what they say is right – it isn’t the camera, it’s the photographer… nah… :).

Folds

Folds

iPhone 6 + iPhone 6 back camera 4.15mm f/2.2 @ 4.15 mm, 1/17 sec at f/2.2, ISO 2000

It’s lucky you only need to see this on a small screen – zoom in (even a little) and it’s just noise and smeared detail. So totally still need that D-SLR with it’s much larger sensor and “real” optics.

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The Dry Canyon…

by on Apr.13, 2017, under Life, Photography

Gerry had heard about this slot dry canyon way out in the wilderness near the Glow Worm Tunnel. This place is north of Lithgow near Newnes Plateau. Around 90 minutes drive on a terrible dirt road out to the middle of nowhere.

The Dry Canyon

The Dry Canyon

DJI Phantom 4 - FC330 + 3.6 mm @ 3.61 mm, 1/60 sec at f/2.8, ISO 107

Anyway Gerry knew roughly where it was but we weren’t really sure – and of course mobile reception didn’t work out here so we could even check on Google/Maps.

So I pulled out the drone, we climbed the nearest pinnacle of rock and took to flight. We recce’d the area where we thought it roughly was and found what looked to be the dry canyons.

Note: These photographs (especially the wider shots) look much better when larger. To see larger versions in an inline overlay slideshow gallery viewer click any of the images.

Slot and Slash

Slot and Slash

DJI Phantom 4 - FC330 + 3.6 mm @ 3.61 mm, 1/120 sec at f/2.8, ISO 148

Landing Zone

Landing Zone

DJI Phantom 4 - FC330 + 3.6 mm @ 3.61 mm, 1/120 sec at f/2.8, ISO 108

Our aerial recce done it was time to pack some gear and walk out into the wilderness in the direction of the canyons. It was roughly 1km line of sight out to where I’d flown over so I packed fairly light. I took just my drone backpack with the drone itself.

I unfortunately didn’t take my D-SLR and lenses or tripod (Gerry took some of his). As it turned out the dry canyon was pretty damn awesome (perhaps as close as we were going to get to those famous slot canyons in the desert of North America). Gerry spent some time shooting there whilst I flew my drone through the canyons doing some video :).

One day we’d like to return with our gear – not looking forward to the epic drive out there and back however!

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Vertical Drop…

by on Apr.11, 2017, under Life, Photography

I’d lugged my freakishly heavy Novoflex multi row pano kit all the way down the vertical drop to the base of the falls. I’d also be looking at hauling myself along with it and the rest of my heavy camera bag back up. So be-damned if I wasn’t going to try and use it whilst I was here :).

Vertical Drop

Vertical Drop

NIKON D750 + 24.0-70.0 mm f/2.8 @ 31 mm, 4 sec at f/16, ISO 100 x 4 Frames

I was quite happy with how this vertical panorama turned out. It’s composed of four vertical frames stitched into a vertorama of the falls from nearly top to bottom. Well not quite bottom since there was another 100m vertical drop off a cliff just a metre behind me :).

Anyway IMHO the vertical pano put together with 31mm source frames looks a lot better than a single ultra wide angle frame would (assuming I could even get this vertical field of view at 12mm).

Note: These photographs (especially the wider shots) look much better when larger. To see larger versions in an inline overlay slideshow gallery viewer click any of the images.

Horizontal Flow

Horizontal Flow

NIKON D750 + 24.0-70.0 mm f/2.8 @ 24 mm, 2.5 sec at f/16, ISO 100 x 10 Frames

Alas the horizontal panorama didn’t turn out anywhere as pleasantly as I’d originally envisaged in my mind. In the photography world – them’s the breaks.

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The Tunnel Grim…

by on Apr.09, 2017, under Life, Photography

Gerry had in mind for us to visit this Glow Worm Tunnel. It was only seventy kilometres or so from Katoomba but it was a more than two hours drive to get there. Who knew it would be nearly 90 minutes of horrendous dirt road experience to get there!

The Tunnel Grim

The Tunnel Grim

NIKON D750 + 12 mm f/2.8 @ 12 mm, 117 sec at f/4, ISO 200, 1600 & 2500

Note: These photographs (especially the wider shots) look much better when larger. To see larger versions in an inline overlay slideshow gallery viewer click any of the images.

Once there it was about a 30-45 minute walk from the carpark out to the tunnel. It was actually quite a nice tunnel (as far as tunnels go). Yes there were some glow worms in the tunnel but seriously not that many.

I was pretty damn surprised how many people were out there walking through the tunnel – it was like grand central station it was so busy :).

Anyway inbetween people walking through your frames we managed to get Gerrys’ pixel stick out for another grim reaper effort. Mixed with some coloured torch lighting and a high ISO long exposure for the glow worms (composited in) and we have the crap above :). Unfortunately that’s as good as the glow worm tunnel got. Lets hope for better things next time!.

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